“Good meeting” was the feeling all around.
Our Fox Cities-Wisconsin Chapter is active in various local and global activities, but we meet as Maryknollers only three times a year. This February we had an exceptional meeting. Only four of our six members were present, but the simple Easy Meeting format carried us through all the information we needed to share and enter into a deeper experience.
We honored the memory of our dear co-founder, Fr. Jim Madden, MM, following the Irish Funeral Prayer format. After “Touchdown”—sharing in a few sentences our most current concern, interest, or joy, we highlighted recent Maryknoll developments:
Take Care of the People
We have a small grocery store in our neighborhood called Abarrotes Don Chucho. Abarrotes are groceries; Don is a title of respect, and Chucho is a short name for Jesús. If you remember your Spanish you can translate the extenso surtido (great choice) they offer.
Love is a consciousness of belonging to another, of being part of a whole. To love is to be on the way toward integral wholeness, to live with an openness of mind and heart, to encounter the other-not as stranger-but as another part of oneself. When we enter into the heart of love, that integral wholeness of love that is God, we enter into the field of relatedness and come to see that we are wholes within wholes. This is the consciousness we need today, an integral wholeness of love that is open to new life; a being-at-home in love that can evolve.”
—The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, Ilia Delio, OSF.
The most critical decision humanity needs to face in the first half of the 21st century is whether we will chose life or continue on the current path toward suicide for our human species and many other life forms.
If mission is going to continue past our lifetimes, we must reach young people, and young people live in the culture of social media.
Social media is a culture with its own language. As missioners, we must learn this culture and language, just as we learn the cultures and languages of peoples in foreign lands. That was the wisdom of the United States Catholic Mission Association conference held in St. Louis in October, 2013. Much of it is applicable to our Affiliate chapters and ministries.
I am sitting at my dining table on All Souls Day evening in the silence of my home, remembering with joy the time I spent in Santa Ana with a wonderful community of Maryknoll Affiliates. I want these memories to never leave my heart and soul. I am so thankful to have been part of this Affiliate mission pilgrimage to Guatemala. It was a time of prayer, forming community and being with those who are materially poor. We crossed borders to discover the meaning of mission spirituality, and we experienced walking with the poor by living among them in a simple mission house.
Dan Driscoll-Shaw – Chicago Central Chapter
Our Chicago Central Maryknoll Affiliates community has been blessed to share many times in one of the highlights and most significant experiences of all the Maryknoll entities, the Sending Ceremony.
Our most recent Sending Ceremony took place December 15, 2013. We blessed Merwyn and Kirstin DeMello as they go forth to begin a three-year commitment in Afghanistan with the Mennonite Central Committee.
In 1991 I began a three-year service position in the newly created joint Maryknoll Mission Archives. I had barely been assigned a desk when Fr. Jim Madden came in looking for two things: the book, The Maryknoll Movement, by Fr. George Powers, and Sr. Barbara Hendricks’ article on the Maryknoll charism. Jim liked to recall that moment as the beginning of our collaboration. Apparently I said something about being interested in what he was doing, and he immediately pulled up a chair to talk about it. He admitted that he wanted the Affiliates to be called “Maryknoll” Affiliates, but that that could only happen if the new movement was collaborative within Maryknoll.
Stories were told at the wake of Jim’s humility, inspiration, and vision. One described his courage. Once, in Peru, armed local leaders confronted Jim in a public square, accusing him of being a spy, challenging his presence. “Why are you here? You don’t belong here,” they screamed. Jim walked right up to the group, stood tall before them and flipped their challenge saying, “It is YOU who don’t belong here. You have cheated and exploited the people. Why are YOU here?” The people then rose up and said, “He’s with us and we’re with him.” Confronted by this cool, daring young priest and his supporters, they backed down. A co-worker later asked Jim if he’d been scared. “Terrified,” he said.
[Translated by Bob Short]
You will always be with us, our dear Father Jim.
Our Mass in celebration of the life of Father Jim Madden was held in Arequipa, Peru, on January 16th, the day that Father Jim was waked [in New York]. Father Edmundo Alarcón, a friend of Father Jim, presided over the celebration. In attendance were Affiliates from the three chapters in Arequipa and some Affiliates from Puno, Peru.
Chicago affiliates held a beautiful reflection this afternoon on the life and gifts of Jim Madden MM. After some initial sharing of stories and personal experiences with Jim, we let Jim speak to us as we read together his essay on “Visioning with the Maryknoll Mission Movement.” We ended with the following chant:
At wind-swept gatherings of the Aymara community on the Altiplano, ¡Presente!
At cross-cultural celebrations that find the Sacred in all peoples and traditions, ¡Presente!
At chapter and conference meetings of Maryknoll Affiliates all over the world, ¡Presente!
At vocation seminars and one-on-one accompaniment, ¡Presente!
At Society gatherings, fellowship, and liturgical services, ¡Presente!
At Congregational collaborations and joint visioning, ¡Presente!
At local and national actions to live and promote social justice, ¡Presente!
As long as we live, he too will live; for he is now a part of us, as we remember Jim. ¡Presente!
Pat Denevan: I was 19 years old when I entered the Maryknoll Seminary in Mt. View, CA, to study Latin for one year. With a young heart burning with missionary zeal, I completed 8 more years of study and was ordained a Maryknoll priest in 1963. However, in 1970, after seeing the hopes of Pope John XXIII fading and the windows of the 2nd Vatican Council being closed, I decided to leave the priesthood. With a sad and confused heart, I left Maryknoll and was “reduced to the lay state,” according to the official document I received from Rome.
One joy of being an Affiliate is walking together in the expression of our Global Vision pillar. Sometimes we support one another without fully realizing the full extent of our contributions. One project that Affiliates have encouraged has blossomed into a multinational campaign to eliminate domestic violence.
My daughter, Kimberly Bautista, is an activist filmmaker. Since the Greater Los Angeles Chapter was an early contributor during a kick-starter campaign, she shared a screening of a rough cut of her documentary film, Justice for My Sister, at the Western Regional Affiliate Conference in San Diego in 2010. The film explores the problems of femicide (murder of women) and impunity in Guatemala by following the lead character, Rebeca, as she seeks justice for the murder of her sister. A rich discussion was held after the screening regarding the themes in the film. As a result several Affiliates made financial contributions towards the completion of the film.
“Who do you say that I am?”
Have you met the thems? Did they speak another language? Do they have AIDs? Do they observe another faith? Are they mentally ill, immigrants, disabled, homosexual, felons, or a different race or economic class?
The Maryknoll Affiliate Mission Statement asks us to cross borders, geographic and otherwise. The Maryknoll Lay Missioners say they build bridges connecting us to others.
During our brief time with Bertha Haas in Mwanza, Tanzania, she told us that when she was a Lay Missioner through 2011, she saw disabled children being regarded as them. That treatment inspired her to found the Huruma Centre School for handicapped children. David and Caitlin Rosser, MKLM, carry on her work.
Some parents from an adjacent school asked Caitlin, “Will my child get sick if he plays with them?” A principal at a public school was incredulous when she saw that a young girl with misshapen arms was not only able to type on a keyboard but could actually read what she typed. Some other Tanzanians doubted that any teachers would be willing to work with disabled children not their own.
These are just a few of the highlights of my Friends Across Borders (FAB) journey to Kenya with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners in September 2013. I think I have always wanted to visit Africa because I feel African music and dance express all the best emotions of life with the whole body. This trip immersed us in the lives of the people of Kenya in Eastern Africa and the ministries of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners.